Plurality of Republicans want Medicare left alone
The Republican Party has a bit of a problem: Their coalition is heavily weighted toward seniors. But their agenda is heavily weighted toward cuts to entitlement programs that benefit seniors. In 2010, they handled this by relentlessly attacking Democrats for the Medicare cuts in the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, they’re trying to handle it by saying that Paul Ryan’s Medicare cuts will exempt anyone under 55 — but because he’s keeping all the Medicare cuts from the Affordable Care Act and implementing them on schedule, that isn’t, by the GOP’s own logic, actually true.
I knew all of that, and so, probably, did you. But I still wasn’t expecting this:
The most popular position in the GOP’s coalition isn’t that Medicare needs a complete overhaul, as Ryan thinks. It isn’t that it needs major changes, or even that it needs minor changes. It’s that we shouldn’t try and control costs at all. That’s not true for the Democrats’ coalition, where both “minor changes” and “major changes” beat “no cost control,” and it’s not true for the independent coalition, where “minor changes” at least tie cost control.
And in more bad news for the GOP, elsewhere in the poll, raising taxes on the rich turns out to be very popular, while a plurality further cuts in programs.